"THREE BE THE THINGS I SHALL NEVER ATTAIN: ENVY, CONTENT, AND SUFFICIENT CHAMPAGNE": FIRST EDITION OF DOROTHY PARKER'S FIRST VOLUME OF VERSE, THE COPY OF IRA GERSHWIN
PARKER, Dorothy. Enough Rope. Poems. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1926. Slim octavo, original half black cloth, patterned paper boards, original dust jacket. $3200.
First edition of the Algonquin wit's first collection of poems, in scarce original dust jacket. The copy of Ira Gershwin, with his posthumous library bookplate.
"After a career as a dramatic and literary critic in her native New York City, during which she achieved an almost legendary reputation for her malicious and sardonic bon mots, [Parker] published her first book of poetry, Enough Rope (1926). This and the two volumes that followed, Sunset Gun (1928) and Death and Taxes (1931)… are works of light, satirical verse, characterized by brilliant concision, flippant cynicism, and caustic variations on certain dominant themes, such as frustrated love and cheated idealism in modern living" (Hart, 569). "Her light verse is excellent… Constantly 'betrayed' by unsatisfactory and unreliable lovers, Parker fought back in sharp epigrammatic verse, critical of men— particularly of the highbrows and Bohemians who were her usual companions" (Hamilton, 409). Includes Parker's famous paeon to suicide methods, "Résumé;" "Comment," where she finds a rhyme for the word extemporanea; and "News Item," one of her most famous and most often unattributed poems: "Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses." Posthumous bookplate of Ira Gershwin. When George Gershwin died in 1937, his brother Ira inherited his library and added it to his own. As George Gershwin did not put ownership markings in the vast majority of his books, it is generally impossible to distinguish whether pre-1937 books were purchased by George or Ira. The library also included books belonging to his sister-in-law, Emily Paley, and her husband (and George Gershwin's best friend), Lou Paley, owner of a Greenwich Village book shop. When Ira died, the library became property of his widow Leonore Strunsky Gershwin. Posthumous bookplates designed by Norman Clayton were then added to books from Gershwin's library. Parker and the Gershwins were all associated with the Algonquin Round Table, a society comprising New York's luminaries in the arts. They received heavy coverage in the press—and the Round Table became iconic—due to the wit, interest, and humor that characterized the daily luncheon meetings. Tiny bookseller ticket.
Book fine, dust jacket with only a few faint spots of soiling, slight rubbing to extremities, and vertical creases next to spine joints. A near-fine copy with a fascinating association.